Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dinner in the Sky- You want me to pay how much?

So, for those of you who have not guessed I totally have spent the past few days SHOPPING!  Seriously,  Black Friday has spilled over to Thanksgiving and all across the weekend.  I LOVE IT!!!

In honor of my shopping splurges, I thought I would bring up a crazy insane over the top WTF food trend I have noticed. It has appeared in Tokyo, Paris, Monte Carlo and recently where I grew up, Delray Beach. 
Basically this contraption is a platform which seats up to 22 guests (all of whom must be at least 4'11 and under 225 lbs).  Each guest must be strapped in.  Think like roller coast seats.  Then the platform is evaluated to 50 meters. Normally, at least the one in Delray  comes with 3 peoples, chef, sous and sommelier in the center of the platform to plate, pour and serve you.

Ok- I will admit this looks cool and totally fun. I mean the view.....The thrill.....It is totally a once in a lifetime experience.  However, the experience will cost you a whopping $500.  Plus, if you have to use the facilitates the whole restaurant/ table has to be lowered to the ground.  Then all your tablemates must wait while you.....  After which you are strapped back in and the table returns to it's bird like perch in the sky. Seriously, a downside for me.  Additionally, the food is not 5 star quality .  It is just ok. This is not food prepared by a celebrity or award winning chef.  So basically you are playing for the view which is ridiculous.

Having typed all this, I find it odd that I would not pay $500 per person to eat mediocre food floating in the sky, but I would pay $500 per person for a 20 minute meal at what people arguably say is the world's best sushi Jiro's 5 star sushi restaurant in Tokyo.

Ok- people, Am I crazy?  I mean about this particular issue. What would you do?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Black Bean Cafe but I totally didn't even have any black beans

This week on Date night the Hubby (Ok- getting less weird but still OMG) took me to Black Bean Cafe. I was excited to try it.  Afterall, I am a fan of Cuban food.  And this place did not disappoint.

I ordered the daily special of Chicken and Rice with Salty plantains.
20121113_191852.jpgYes- I did notice my plate was ALL yellow.  But presentation is not everything.  And honestly for an order at the counter place, I was not expecting high marks on presentation. The chicken and rice were very flavorful which suggested that there was a lot of time put into enhancing the it was cooked for a long while.  The salty plantains were not salty which bothered me.  Call them something else like tostones, so I am not expecting salty goodness when I bit in. Even the Hubby found these babies bland. The salty plantains were mashed  and fried.  this reminds me a of a potato pancake for some reason.  The different take on plantains was unique but I still prefer my plantains sweet.
The Hubby ordered Picadillo which is beef cooked over a long period of time.  He opted for the red beans and sweet plantains.  The sweet plantains were nice and moist while crispy around the edges.  The red beans were the true standouts.  I mean these beans could have been a soup.  The beans were cooked for a long time with chorizo.  This stuff was AMAZING.  The Picadillo was good.  The Hubby really loved it.

Our biggest complaint was the temperature of the food. ALL the items on BOTH our plates were warm not super hot when food comes straight off the stove or even mildly hot.  I know this is silly and probably just the after effects of reading Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential....but.....Food that cooks for extended time like the Hubby's pork and beans being lukewarm t hints at bacterial and worse. Bourdain discuss this as his reason for not eating hollandaise out very often.  Anywho, the Hubby and I did not have any issues  though made sure to microwave the hell out of the leftovers before eating.

Our smallest complaint was they are a Pepsi company.  We are Coke people.

Black Bean Cuban Cuisine on UrbanspoonBasically- Black Bean is like Gordos without table serve, less ambiance and colder food.  My recent trip to Gordo's, the apps was so HOT we had to wait a bit for it to cool. (Click here for more)  However, Black Beans' food has  more  more depth of flavor.  Seriously those red beans were very complex. I highly recommend the red beans (Obviously) and the sweet plantains.Come hungry because it is a good portion of food.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

VooDoo Dog- Once more with bacon

This is my second time eating at VooDoo Dog  which I greatly Click here for my first experience. I thought this would be a great funky and different place to take my BFF who came to visit.
Anywho, I ordered the Jefferson dog again.  And OMG.....I love bacon dogs!  The bacon adds crunch and a salty savory yumminess. Then the mac and cheese with the bread crumbs just puts the dog over the top

image.jpegMy BFF ordered the Wake and Bake which as you can see from the photo is topped with a fried egg and cheese.  This dog was AMAZING.  The combination of cheese, bacon and egg was surprisingly flavorastic!  This was actually my favorite dog of three, even though they were all very good.

image.jpegThe Hubby ordered the Tijuana hot dog which was a bacon dog as well.  Are you picking up and a theme here? The dog also had guacamole and sour cream.  This dog was fun and interesting, but my least favorite of the three.  The main reason was the guacamole.  It was not made in-house.  Yes- I am a pain in the butt and picky.  Therefore I can taste the difference between fresh guacamole and pre-packaged.  I know..i know I am being super critical, but this place is that good that I have to nick pick!!!!

Voodoo Dog on Urbanspoonimage.jpegOh and these photos were before the alcohol!!!!    
Yes- I am a Buffy Fan!  The title was not a quiescence.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Eye of Round makes the Best roast beef...SERIOUSLY most of my cooking adventures start with...Someone (my father in law)  asked me to make roast beef.  Now as I feel I type all the meat cooking is new to me...I was a vegetable eater for a time and still have a strong preference for seafood, veggies, and chicken (Please remove your gasps and judgement).  Therefore, I have NEVER made roast beef EVER.

Well, I did a little research and learned the tough hind quarters of a
make great roast beef.  And then I found this easy seeming recipe on Mrs. Happy Homemaker blog...."Foolproof eye of round roast seems easy enough for me.

Well, because this is me! We know I totally altered the recipe.  I made my own marinate and made a few changes.  And.....
It turned out amazing!  My father-in-law loved it.  I had to cut up my second Roast beef (I made a second one for leftovers).  All six plates were completely cleaned. And I was only left with a tiny bit for leftovers.

Try this recipe if got a dinner party coming up and dont have 4 hours to cook a tradiational roast,
Like your meat more medium rare,
Are tired of roast,
Or just want a cheaper alternative to beef chuck.....My grocery sales beef chuck for $4.99 and maybe $3.99 on sale but the eye of round was $2.99.
Basically,  this is a great anytime recipes.

2-3 lb eye of round beef slabs
1 bottle Monteral steak seasoning
1 head of garlic
1 LARGE frying pan
1 large roasting dish with rack
1 large bowl

So here is what I did
First take the eye of round beef slabs and put them the large bowl.  Using a knife or fork prick the meat ALL over.  this will allow the marinate to penetrate the beef. Since, I didn't have marinate on hand, I pour 1/2 a bottle of Montreal steak seasoning and a cup of EVOO on the meat. Now here is the messy part, massage the seasoning and EVOO into the meat.  Wash hands and let sit.  I only let the meat seat for 90 minutes, but overnight would be best.

Next remove the meat from the bowl and place in VERy hot pan to sear on all sides.  You are looking to achieve a nice brown crust.  While you are searing preheat your oven for 300 degrees. When your slabs of beef are golden brown on all sides remove from the hot pan and place on the roasting rack.  Then put into warmed oven. You want to cook this until the internal temp is 130 degrees which was 50 minutes for me. However, if you like your beef cooked more well, I would let the meat cook another 10-20 minutes.

Once meat hits 130 degrees, remove from the oven and roasting rack.  Let the meat rest.  resist the urge to immediately cut into it.  I waited about 7 minutes which was all the self restraint I could muster.  Slice thinly then serve. I recommend pour the juices that come out from cutting on top meat to create a nice gloss and extra moisture.

I promise your friends/ family/ dog will love this recipe!!!  Mine is already asking me to make it immediately!

Sorry there is no photo of my masterpiece, the family kinda ate it all before I could get my camera out.  Seriously, it was scary.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I would turn my head into a bagel if it was from BagelHead

Now for those of you who don't know me well, I was born in Philly and grew up in South Florida.  this be definition makes me a bagel snob.  Don't even think of asking me to eat a the bagels from the fridge section of the grocery store. It will not be pretty.

So, I was craving a bagel and decided to drag my BFF on a morning food run!  Even though Bagelhead is not around the corner from me,  I heard a rumor that they were even better then Bruegers.  Naturally, I had to try them.  And.....

image.jpegThey were so right.  Bagelhead is amazing.  And it was packed, like so packed.  However, the wait was not to bad.  The extra minutes gave us time to decide what we wanted to order and for the The girl at the counter was so nice and friendly as I asked about what the disk shaped thing was with the cheese and bacon.
Apparently, it is a bagel disk. We got it with jalepino cream cheese as the girl behind the counter recommended (Sorry I cant remember her name!)  for the Hubby.  Bacon...cheese. jalepinos what is not to love??  It was amazing.  I have a little above average spice tolerance and found the cream cheese had some spice but nothing that made me run for the fridge to get milk.  The comb was awesome!!!!

image.jpegimage.jpegThe BFF ordered a spinach and parm bagel with pesto cream cheese.  This paired remarkably well together!  this gave a nice savory flavor.  However, my favorite was what I ordered everything bagel with lox and cream cheese.  this lox was not tooooooo salty which happens ALOT.  As you can see from the photo right, Bagelhead does not scrimp on the lox. I so satified my bagel fix.  We also ordered the iced coffee, which was very yummy.  I find sometimes iced coffee is just last weeks old coffee and super stale!  That was not the case here!

 Basically- I love this place.  They have a great assortment of bagels and cream cheese plus boar's head meats and cheese!  Please, the lox was actually good!!!!  Make sure to try the bagel was the best of the bagels we tried.

Bagelheads on Urbanspoon

Oh- no I will not being trying the crazy new Asian trend called Bagelhead. See right.

For a different opinion- ok fine he enjoyed it too!  Check out Sweet Tea and Bourbon review.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Big Easy Snowballs in Tallahassee? Oh yes and more yes

I have been hearing about Big Easy Snowballs from one of my co-workers for a while.  She likes to take her family as an alternative to ice cream.  Plus the Lake Ella location is perfect for combining in a little exercise.  This co-worker raved about all the flavors and taste plus the sizes are HUGE.  So, I couldn't help taking my BFF there when he came into town. By came into to town I mean my Husband (still weird) surprised me with him one weekend. But that is a whole nother sweet story....Back to the snowballs

Like it's name suggests Big Easy Snowballs is New Orleans themed with lots of purple and green along with masks on the wall.  The servers were awesome. After look at the LARGE flavor options (seriously click here) I opted to taste test (Yes-you can try the flavor before you buy)  buttered popcorn and red velvet cake (my favorite kind of cake).  The buttered popcorn which I tried more because it sounded crazy was sweet and good.  I was pleasantly surprised.  However, the red velvet stole my heart.  As my co-worker said, the sizes are large so I went with a small which was more then enough....Serious, see image right for sizes.

image.jpegimage.jpegThe snowballs were less like snowcones with a chunky crunchy  texture but more like shaved ice or Italian ice with nice smooth barely perceptible pieces.  The red velvet flavor was sugary sweet with a nice cake depth.  Of course this flavor is red so my lips were cherry red for a while after.  My BFF who loves red velvet cake too, tried the Cajun Red Hot which tasted just like a red hot. This was not super spicy but had a little kick so beware. And yes- the BFF totally ate half of my red velvet cake snowball... so as pay back I ate half his Cajun Red hot.  It got a little violent  despite the smiling pics.

Big Easy Snowballs on UrbanspoonBasically- This is an awesome frozen treat with tons of flavors to please any taste.  Plus, the ability to try all the flavors makes this place a must try. I didn't try the stuffed snowball which is ice cream inside the snowball, but they sound yummy. I know it is coming up on winter so some of you may be asking, " Snowcones in winter?" Hell to the Yes.....just bring an extra sweater!!!